The novel is fast paced and exhilarating. The scenes of death and suffering are shocking, but the descriptions never become stale. Herbert has a gift of making every scene vibrant, and the horrific, crumbling corpses that pervade almost every moment of these character’s lives, are newly disturbing every time I was faced with one (or dozens, as the case may be).
Hoke is a hardened man, he keeps his grief (and feelings) at a distance, but he is not inhuman, and as the novel progresses and the hunt becomes increasingly dire and complicated, Hoke is run ragged – physically and emotionally. It is late in the novel that we learn the truth of what he has endured, and it’s not pretty.
If I ever live to write action sequences even half as good as these, I’ll be a happy woman. But, until then, I’m going to search out more of James Herbert’s novels. His is a writing style that I could quickly learn to love.
On the negative, the novel is short, it is what I consider to be a thrill-and-spill, that is, it gets the blood pumping but doesn't leave a lasting impression. There is no deeper message here, at least I didn't gain one, and there's little emphasis on characterisation. This purely is action-adventure, and it works. It really does work. If I read too many of these kinds of novels though, I think I'd have a coronary. Maybe SK's slow pace isn't so bad afterall... sometimes....Continua